A new report by marine shipping experts Dynamar, predicts significant cargo volume growth for East Coast ports due to an expanded Panama Canal capable of handling ultra large container ships:

The report from the Dutch firm Dynamar, called Panama Canal Container Trades: Past, Present and Future, predicts that volumes to the U.S. East and Gulf coasts from the Far East could climb from 3.2 million TEU today to 15.7 million TEU by 2020.

“Our conclusion is that soon after the expanded Panama Canal opens for business in 2015, ultra large container ships of over 10,000 TEU up to the new Panamax size of 13,000 TEU will start using the waterway,” said Dirk Visser, the managing editor for Dynamar, which is based in Alkmaar, Netherlands . . .

Visser also believes that while trans-Suez volumes from Far East ports will grow in the next few years because of limited capacity at the Panama Canal, much of that cargo could switch to trans-Panama routings after the expanded canal is opened.

“There are two worries for the East Coast ports involved, to have sufficient water depth and large enough cranes – the ability to handle 22 boxes across deck, but at least 20,” he said . . .

“There is more than enough cargo if the trade develops as forecasted to employ a big number of those ships in the Far East-East Coast trade,” Visser said. “If you were to carry the total eastbound to the U.S. East Coast trade in 2020 entirely with 10,000 TEU ships, you would have 40 strings of those ships.

“We expect a swift shift to much larger ships. The carriers will want to take advantage of the economies of scale,” he said. “The new panamax can be around 13,000 TEU, but it will be the U.S. East Coast ports that will determine the maximum size that can be used.

If properly protected and promoted, the Port of Providence, with its 40ft deep water channel, will be perfectly positioned to capitalize on this predicted increase in cargo volume.

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